Coaster won’t stop in Del Mar

Coaster won’t stop in Del Mar
Plans to restore Coaster service to Del Mar quickly came to the end of the tracks. North County Transit District Executive Director Matt Tucker said the move would likely slow current travel times and not increase ridership. City Council sought to re-establish service, which ended in 1995, to help reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — The Coaster won’t be stopping in Del Mar, at least not anytime soon. Following a request last month from City Council, North County Transit District explored the possibility of re-establishing limited train service to the city on weekends and for special occasions.The review indicated “there is not a sufficient business case to support restoring” service at this time, Matt Tucker, NCTD executive director, stated in a Feb. 7 letter to Mayor Carl Hilliard.“The limited projected usage of the stop for special events, combined with the limitations for initiating travel from the station, is not likely to result in sufficient ridership or revenue to justify the operational change,” the letter stated.

“The added stop would also increase travel time for all customers, which would negatively impact COASTER operations,” Tucker wrote.

Council members presented the proposal to NCTD in an effort to decrease traffic, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase revenue.

Plans to restore Coaster service to Del Mar quickly came to the end of the tracks. North County Transit District Executive Director Matt Tucker said the move would likely slow current travel times and not increase ridership. City Council sought to re-establish service, which ended in 1995, to help reduce traffic and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

Tickets would not have been sold at the Del Mar station. Passengers would have been required to board a train outside the city so additional cars wouldn’t come to the area

The proposal wasn’t open to Amtrak.

“We asked NCTD to determine the feasibility,” Hilliard said. “Our objective was to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging people to take the train rather than get in their cars.

“The study indicated there wouldn’t be a substantial reduction,” he said. “That was the question. That was the answer. Without that happening it didn’t pencil out for NCTD.

“We’re well aware of our legal and moral obligations to decrease greenhouse gases,” Hilliard said. “We’ll continue to look at ways to accomplish that that make sense. There was no sense in instituting train service if it didn’t accomplish our objective.”

NCTD’s decision is good news for some residents who opposed train service returning to the small beach city.

“I’m not quite sure why the City Council is taking the position to ask NCTD to look into (limited train service) when we’ve repeatedly said, ‘No, we don’t want it,’” Robin Crabtree said at the Feb. 6 meeting.

“Please, stop this,” she said. “Talk to your residents and find out if this is something we want.”

Train service to Del Mar ended in 1995 and a new station opened in adjacent Solana Beach.

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